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Divorcing While Pregnant: What You Should Know

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A divorce can be complicated by a number of issues, including pregnancy. A pregnancy can impact various factors, including whether or not you can even have the divorce finalized. If you are pregnant and in the process of divorcing, here is what you need to know. 

Can Your Divorce Be Finalized?

Whether or not the family court will finalize your divorce depends on your local and state laws. For instance, in Texas, there are some courts that will not finalize your divorce when you are pregnant. The same holds true in Arkansas and Kentucky. In these states, you can file the documentation to start the process, but the judge might not issue the final decree until you have had your baby. 

What Can You Do While Waiting for the Baby's Birth?

You and your spouse can opt to use the time until the baby's birth to reach a resolution on matters, such as division of assets and debts. If your spouse is the father of your child, you can also work on custodial and support matters. If you are able to reach an agreement on this now, you can include your arrangement in the divorce documentation. This helps you and your spouse avoid having to go back to court when the divorce is finalized to get an order for custody and support. 

What If Your Spouse Is Not the Father?

In some states, there is a presumption that the father of the unborn child is the spouse. If you live in one of those states, you and your spouse need to take steps to prove he is not the father. One possible method of achieving this is to have your spouse and the biological father of your baby sign an acknowledgement that states who the father of the child is. Your attorney can prepare the acknowledgement to ensure that it is properly done. 

Another method is for the biological father or your spouse to file a paternity action. When it is filed, a DNA test is conducted and the father of the child will be established. At that point, the court would treat the situation like any other child custody and support case and issue an order for both. 

If you do not have a divorce attorney and you are pregnant, it is important that you consult with one soon. The attorney can help you understand your state's laws and help you file the documentation needed to end your marriage.